I found this extremely interesting article over at Dickensblog. I didn't intend for the blog to have a Harry Potter theme this month, but it's sort of happening, so I'll just go with it!
The article details the Harry Potter phenomenon and then shows how Rowling was influenced by Charles Dickens. It also touches on the fact that Harry Potter made kids want to read again; the best part is, it was a well-written series of books that brought many kids back to the reading fold (*ahem-ahem* Twilight, I'm looking at you...)
Here's the link: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304584004576419742308635716.html?mod=googlenews_wsj